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Potomac Books


Living Blue in the Red States, Living Blue in the Red States, 0803260083, 0-8032-6008-3, 978-0-8032-6008-5, 9780803260085, Edited by David Starkey , , Living Blue in the Red States, 0803209851, 0-8032-0985-1, 978-0-8032-0985-5, 9780803209855, Edited by David Starkey

Living Blue in the Red States
Edited by David Starkey

2007. 356 pp.
3 maps
$19.95 t

Political pundits never tire of reminding us of the great cultural divide between conservative “red” states and liberal “blue” ones. But common sense tells us that not all people in these states can be politically like-minded. David Starkey, a former red-state resident, wondered what politically progressive creative writers were feeling in the wake of George W. Bush’s reelection. How, Starkey asked contributors, does one live blue in a red state.
This book supplies many answers. Writers as different as Jonis Agee and Stephen Corey, Robin Hemley and Lee Martin (a 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist in fiction), Donald Morrill and Wyoming poet laureate David Romtvedt describe what it is like to live in a region that doesn’t always share one’s values. While pointedly progressive, the collection brings together the work of essayists who look beyond the passions of the moment—the war in Iraq, the rallying of the Right around social issues, the Democrats’ failure in 2004—to the need for unity. Sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, always enlightening, these essayists’ views testify to the power of writing to bring us together as one nation of whatever color.

David Starkey is a professor of English at Santa Barbara City College and author of Poetry Writing: Theme and Variations as well as several collections of poetry, most recently Ways of Being Dead: New and Selected Poems.
Contributors include: West: David Romtvedt, Sherry Simpson, Jennifer Sinor, and Frank Soos; Midwest: Jonis Agee, Steve Heller, Robin Hemley, Lee Martin, Michael J. Rosen, and Deb Olin Unferth; South: Gilbert Allen, Sidney Burris, David Case, Stephen Corey, Anthony Kellman, John Lane, Donald Morrill, Jim Peterson, Mona Lisa Saloy, David Starkey, and Angus Woodward

"Imbued with a spirit of gentleness and forgiveness, Living Blue in the Red States reminds us that we are in this together, left and right, trying to survive an ongoing political Katrina."—Greg Kosmicki, Great Plains Quarterly

“It is important to be reminded, as the essays in Living Blue in the Red States do, of the range and complexity of opinion in our culture. This rainbow of comment and testimony against the stereotypes is something to celebrate; it is the lifeblood of democracy.”—Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Brave Enemies

“Among the contributors are novelists, poets, essayists, and literature professors, all with passion for their regions and elegance in expressing their anger, frustration, and longing to close—or at least understand—the political divide.”—Booklist

“By offering us an array of compelling stories, these writers protect us from the illusion that any one story can be adequate to the rich complexity of the world. This illusion is dangerous in religion, more dangerous in politics, and most dangerous of all when religion and politics join hands on the levers of power. So read these essays and help reopen the American mind.”—Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Private History of Awe

"The red state/blue state divide, which has come to dominate poll projections, is not as well defined as election-eve pundits claim. . . . [David Starkey] shows that a sense of community often trumps politics, and the similarities between neighbors outnumber their differences."—ForeWord

“The reason Living Blue in the Red States tends to succeed is because it tries to rise above politics and political labels. . . . The book may not only provide succor to the ‘blue’ but insight for the ‘red.’”—

“A diverse assortment of progressive viewpoints on an America closely divided along geographic and political lines expressed through essays that range from poli-sci dissertations to deeply personal memoirs. . . [A] thought-provoking colllection.”—The Beat (SC)

“[R]eveals the sensitivity, openness, and respect which the best (blue or red) minds can offer. . . . David Romtvedt’s ‘Red Politics and Blue in Wyoming,’ Robin Hemley’s ‘Control Issues,’ Jim Peterson’s ‘The Kreskin Effect,’ and Starkey’s ‘Writing the Personal Political Essay’ are all flat-out excellent writing, regardless (but not ignorant) of politics. That’s a real accomplishment. The best of these essays—and there is a lot of great work beyond what I mention above—acknowledge the false dichotomy of red and blue, confront personal biases, and outline the disillusionment of the left at both the right and itself. Most importantly, they are vivid and eloquent.”—Andy Fogle, PopMatters

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